What’s a Lockwood?

By on 25 September, 2014 in Architecture, Carole King, Historic Midtown with 1 Comment

With the recent news that the Standard Club located on Narrow Lane Road will have a new life as a hospice facility, local preservationists are breathing a collective sigh of relief. The Standard Club was designed by noted Montgomery architect Frank Lockwood and built in 1929. You may have heard that name batted around in reference to significant homes on tour or for sale in assorted historic neighborhoods … so here’s the scoop on him!

Frank Lockwood was born of English parents in New Jersey and grew up in New York City. His father came to this country as an engineer working on the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. Lockwood was educated at Princeton and did post-graduate work at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. His talent as a musician probably would have led to an equally successful career had his mother not so encouraged him toward architecture. Before he left New York, he had already established an enviable reputation as a singer in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. The Metropolitan Opera even offered him a contract. In later years, Lockwood directed the choir at the Holy Comfort Church here in Montgomery. After graduating from Pratt, he was employed by an architectural firm that sent him to Anniston. There he designed Grace Episcopal Church. Lockwood moved to Columbus, Georgia, for several years before settling in Montgomery in 1894 with his wife Marguerite, beginning an illustrious 41-year career in both residential and commercial architecture.

Upon his arrival in Montgomery, Lockwood’s architectural talents were immediately obvious to discerning Montgomerians, and his name became synonymous with the best designed structures. His first commission was the regal Neo-classical style Thigpen-Hill House on South Perry Street built in 1898.

He designed such memorable (and still standing) non-residential structures as these listed below:

  • Alabama State Capitol, North & South wings, 1906-1912
  • Federal Courthouse, Court and Church Streets, 1932
  • Baldwin School, McDonough Street, 1911
  • Cloverdale School, East Fairview Avenue, 1922
  • Greystone Hotel-Hampton Inn, Commerce Street and Madison Avenue, 1927
  • Houghton Library, Huntingdon College campus, 1928
  • Trinity Presbyterian Church, Felder Avenue, 1912

Lockwood also inspired and assisted other young Montgomery architects such Raymond Sizemore and Ben Dawson, and he worked extensively with the construction firm of Algernon Blair on many projects. During Lockwood’s long career he designed scores of residences in the city, including the Algernon Blair home and the John Blue House – both at the intersection of Felder and Gilmer Avenues. The Whitfield Mansion at 1506 South Perry Street, the Quisenberry-Brown house at 3113 Thomas Avenue, the Lucian Loeb House at 1623 Gilmer Avenue and the Oates House (now known as Belvoir) at 3250 Thomas Avenue are just a few of his noted works.

Mr. Lockwood came to our city and liked it enough to take root, raise a family and leave his mark in such splendid ways all over town. He died in 1935 at his home on Adams Avenue. Bill and Lucy Jackson, who currently own the Standard Club, have donated the property to the Hospice of Montgomery, which will renovate the historic structure into Montgomery’s first hospice home. At a recent event, local historian Mary Ann Neeley commented, “What a happy, serene spot it is,” and offered a bit of history about the clubhouse and about Lockwood, who Neeley said “made many, many impressions upon this city.”

Carole King (not the singer, just the hummer) enjoys midtown living from South Capitol Parkway in Capitol Heights where she has lived for 25+years. Carole has been the historic properties curator for the Landmarks Foundation that manages Old Alabama Town for 28 years and is passionate about neighborhoods, their architectural character, their people, and their preservation!

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  1. Dot Moore says:

    The article about Frank Lockkwood was very interesting!
    I would love to read more.

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